Xavier wrestling brings home title

Mary Kate Moeder

Henry   Ford  once  said, “If   everyone    is  moving  forward  together, then success takes care of itself.” 

This season the Xavier boys’ wrestling team has proven how moving forward as a team can lead to accomplishments.

Xavier took home their first tournament victory in 12 years at the Zimmerman Invitational in Maquoketa on Saturday, January 2. They had four wrestlers win in their respective weight classes: seniors Ivan Thomas, Caelen Shannon and Ryan Volk and junior Christian Stanek. They also had one runner-up finish by freshman Ryan Hoefer.

Volk (20-4) took first place at weight class 182 by fall over Cayden Miller of Midland in 1 minute and 9 seconds. At weight class 170, Thomas (22-0) won by fall over Tim Nimely of Muscatine in 5 minutes and 54 seconds. Shannon (25-0) claimed victory over Caden Ballou of Midland by major decision. Stanek (24-0) took first by decision over Mason Crabtree of Muscatine.

“It meant a lot to me because it was my first tournament win and our team’s first tournament win,” Shannon said. “The conditioning that we do at practice allowed for me to feel comfortable in my matches.”

These individual successes have come from team motivation.

“Wrestling is about repetition and pushing yourself physically,” Thomas said. “Our team has stayed focused this year. My team is what pushes me to win. When we drill or live wrestle, we push one another, which brings our success.”

The improvements from last season can be credited to the positive practice environment. 

“As a team, we’ve improved our mindset, we are a lot more confident and excited about competing and we just get along really well as a team,” Stanek said.

The passion and drive that each wrestler possesses has been acknowledged, especially from another’s perspective. Jordan Jansen, the wrestling team manager, has been a loyal fan to the sport of wrestling, but especially Xavier’s program, for many years now. 

“I don’t see the time and effort they put in but I know they are working hard and it pays off when they are competing on the mat,” Jansen said.

The success has not come easy, as they have overcome tough competition. 

“We are competing with other good teams,” Shannon said. “We are winning duals that we would have not won in past years because of how good our team is this year.”

Jansen explains how the team has created a strong team chemistry through their encouragement towards one another. 

“We have good individuals, but when it comes to the team, they are always cheering one another on, whether you’re the best on the team or not, it doesn’t matter,” Jansen said.

Everything the wrestlers put in is to achieve their goals.

“We are all focused on pushing one another to reach our goals set at the beginning of the year,” Thomas said. “As a team, we write down our actions on what we do outside of practice to achieve them.”

Thomas explains how his specific goals will benefit his chances at state.

“I wrote down for the beginning of the year that I would lift every morning before school as well as watch film every night,” Thomas said. “These small things will help me achieve my goal at state.”

Stanek comments on his high hopes for the outcome of this season both individually and as a whole team. 

“Individually the goal is to win state, and as a team, I’d like to be in the team rankings,” Stanek said.

The Saints are not finished yet and it is clear to see the confidence that they have as post season approaches soon. 

“Our team was very excited to win this tournament, but we still have a bit of the season left to go. We are excited for our upcoming meets and success,” Thomas said.

The Xavier wrestling team is a top-quality example of how the effort of teamwork can lead to lasting success.

The Xavier wrestling team will compete next at Waterloo East on Thursday, February 4. The dual begins at 7:00 p.m.